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NYSP wraps up summer program

With all the energy of the last day of school, kids in the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP), held at Wallace State Community College sat in the stands, listening to music pumping through the gym’s P.A. and watched as their friends played a spirited, if sometimes sloppy basketball game.

After a month of learning swimming, computer classes, taekwondo, basketball softball, career goals and drug and alcohol awareness, the kids have earned their fun.

The program is a nationally-sponsored project that focuses on keeping children from under-privileged areas working towards positive goals.

The program, which averaged 200 students a day, was open to children ages 10- to 16-years-old and is focused on lower-income families.

Whether or not the program returns will depend on the final reports turned in later this month, but the program already passed it’s evaluation in late June.

The teachers are all certified in their respective areas and they help expose the kids to activities that many have never participated in.

Curtis Mitchell, 14, said the instructors showed him some new moves.

Taekwondo was a class that caught many students’ attention.

But the program is more than the physical activities.

Those may be the things that last longer than proper dribbling techniques.

Gourdine said one student requested and received help in getting out of a gang.

Another group of girls were so inspired by their anti-drug and alcohol class that they wrote a song about it.

In their computer classes, the kids have learned about web design, Power Point and e-mail. In the career classes they learned about different jobs, resumes and how to search work.

Willie Richardson, 15, said he had more fun in basketball and taekwondo, but he learned the most in computer class.

Not a bad way to spend a summer vacation.